Pianist: Pedro Alcalde
Piano: Steinway 517.045
Production: Sender Freies Berlin (SFB)
Production director: Jürgen Petzinger
Realization director: Wolfgang Hoff
Sound engineer: Ekkehard Stoffregen
Sound editor: Ricarda Molder
Date: 4/10/12-2001


Theodor Adorno noted that the maturity of late works by great artists bore no resemblance to that of fruit: they are neither round nor sweet. We observe this in the late work of Titian, Beethoven or Goya: the violence of the subjectivity that unfolds in them is the very gesture that jars the work. György Kurtág (Lugoj, 1929) published in 1979 several works for piano in four volumes, which he called “Játékok” (“Games”). In them, their pedagogical function did not hinder the choice of a new and liberating musical order detached from both old and new musical forms. Eighteen years later, in 1997, he published two new volumes under the same title but with an additional subtitle: “Diary entries, personal messages.” Letters, messages, farewells, flowers, situations and homages composed this rare catalogue. Its musical expression, declining everything nonessential, stood apart from any contemporary musical movement. With these small pieces, Kurtág enters fully in that timeless place that defines the aesthetic category of “Late Style” and which we are familiar with in three specific cases in the history of music, by way of the last compositions of Bach, Beethoven and Liszt.

I met Kurtág in the two years that he was composer in residence with the Berlin Philharmonic. The numerous conversations we had in those years have made me understand music in a different manner. When Jürgen Petzinger came up to me to propose another set of recordings for the Sender Freies Berlin, I couldn’t think of a better decision than to choose Kurtág to continue the experiment that we had started years before, with Beethoven’s late style. The last of the recorded pieces, In memoriam András Mihály, was later the basis of the third movement of his most important composition for orchestra: Stele, op. 33.

György Kurtág
Játékok Vol. V-VI: “Diary entries, personal messages”

01 Letter to Marianne Teöke (VI, 16)
02 Voice in the Distance II (Hommage à Alfred Schlee 85) (V, 36a)
03 Doina (VI, 34-35)
04 A Quiet Farewell to Endre Székely (VI, 37a)
05 Day-dreaming… (az elsüllyedt katedra) (VI, 21)
06 Bell-fanfare for Sándor Veress (V, 22a)
07 Organ and bells in memory of Doctor László Dobszay (V, 29)
08 Virág a Virág… (V, 6)
09 Flowers we are… (In memoriam Árpád Illés) (V, 13a)
10 Message to András Szöllösy (VI, 23)
11 Még az édes méz is… In dark days – for Ferenc Farkas (VI, 31)
12 Grassblades in memory of Klára Martyn (V, 23)
13 Marina Tsvetayeva: It’s Time (In memoriam Mátyás Triznya) (VI, 24)
14 In memoriam György Kósa (V, 27)
15 …waiting for Susan… (VI, 39)
16 Fanfares (V, 32-33)
17 Farewell to Pál Kadosa (V, 25)
18 To Stefánia Mándy (In memoriam Béla Tábor) (VI, 37b)
19 Lendvai Ernö in memoriam (VI, 42)
20 …humble regard sur Olivier Messiaen… (VI, 49)
21 Face to face (Demény János in memoriam) (VI, 47)
22 In memoriam András Mihály (VI, 50-51)